8 legal provisions to check sexual harassment of women
We often advocate the need for more stringent laws against sexual harassment but how many of us are actually aware of the existing laws and provisions under IPC that can be used to punish those who even try to sexually harass a woman?
Here we are compiling 8 such provisions under IPC and other Indian laws:
1. IPC Section 294:
Singing lewd songs directed at women in public spaces is considered sexual harassment under IPC Section 294. The person doing or the offenders could be jailed upto three months or will be fined or in some cases both. This means if any person sings back to a girl in public place is considered as offence.
2. IPC Section 354(A):
A man committing any acts like a demand for sexual favours, showing pornography against women wills, involving unwelcome and explicit tortures and making sexually coloured remarks shall be guilty to the offence of the sexual harassment. In brief it can be said as demanding sexual favours despite indication of disinterest are a crime under IPC Section 354(A). The accused can either face jail ranging its duration from 1-3 years or fine or in some case both can be applied.
3. IPC Section 503:
If a women's clear refusal to someone's sexual advances is met by threats to harm her physically or her reputation or her property, it is a crime under IPC Section 503. The man can either face jail time of two years or with fine or even both. A threat to injure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section.
4. IPC Section 354(D):
Any man who follows and contacts or even attempts to contact such women to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such women or monitor the use by a women of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication , commits the offence of stalking. Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
5. IPC section 354(C):
Any man who watches or captures the image of a women engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the exception of not being observed either by the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven year and also will be liable to fine.
6. Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace Act, 2013:
It is a legislative act tha seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It can be in many forms. Like if a senior colleague demanding sexual favours in exchange for work benefits- promotion or salary hike – is an act of sexual harassment under this act.According to this act any work place with more than 10 employees should have an internal complaints committee. If women make a complaint about an act of harrasment, the inquiry has to be completed within 90 days according to the act.Infact the helpers who enable us in completing our household task are also dealt under this act.Every office provides transportation facility to their employees but if any act of harassment happens inside the transportation facility provided by the workplace , the victim has the right to complain under this act. If some is charged under this act they will be punished with one to three years of imprisonment or fine.
7. IPC Section 499:
Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person. No imputation is said to harm a person's reputation, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful. Even morphing pictures of a women and sharing them with an intent to harass and defame her is a crime as per this section.The punishment may include jail upto two years , or fine or both.
8. Section 67 of the IT Act:
Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscenematerial in electronic form any material which is lascivious to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave nad corrupts persons who are likely having regards to all relevant circumstances to read , see or hear the matter contained in it. shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.